We didn't know it was possible to watch a video of Rihanna in the bathtub and leave it feeling kind of miserable. But then we caught her new video for the single "Stay," and now we kind of want to curl up in a hot shower and have a good cry ourselves.
The stark piano ballad, which Rihanna performed at Sunday's Grammy Awards, is given an appropriately minimalist clip, where the singer broods in a bathtub in a barely lighted room. The consonant-gifted guest vocalist Mikky Ekko plays her partner, kind of, but the bleak allure is all Rihanna's.
It's kind of an echo of her famous "We Found Love" video, with that clip's quick-cut, drugged-up frenzy of bad romance replaced with solitary, locked-off shots that feel more intimate than exploitative.
We're exhausted from unpacking Chris Brown subtext into everything Rihanna does, so let's just take the clip as credible evidence that Rihanna's deadpan voice can fully inhabit a tear-streaked ballad as well as Europhile rave tunes.
She looks amazing, but the focus isn't so much her body as the look of constant devastation on her face. Read into that what you will, but it's a beautiful video that broaden's Rihanna's emotional-musical palette.